Love is in the air and all around. You can’t walk into a store, listen to the radio or be on the web without getting bombarded by messages of Valentine’s Day. Similar to how we have one day in November set aside to be thankful, we also have one day in February set aside for love. The big difference is that our day for love has more pressure and is met with more cynicism than our day of gratitude. Why do you think that is?
At it’s core, the expression of love is when we are at our most honest, most authentic and truly coming from a place of pure feeling. If we do something for someone from a place of love, we are doing it because it is our intention that it will help that person. Think about it, we never do something out of love that we think will make someone’s life harder, do we? Do we ever give someone a gift thinking they will hate it? Do we ever make them a meal with the intention that they will think it is disgusting? The intention behind showing someone love is pure. We do it because we want to express our gratitude and our feelings by doing something thoughtful for someone.
Somewhere along the line, we made love extremely complicated. We made it about the person’s reaction to our gift of love. We made it about what they gave us in return. We made it conditional. We attached values to it and started keeping score.
They say the opposite of love is fear. I don’t disagree, however, instead of being at opposite ends of the spectrum, they seem to live together side by side. When we think about showing love to family and friends our very next thought is to consider their reaction. We sit in fear wondering and waiting, or even holding back showing love all together because we are afraid of their reaction. We worry that we were too open, that they will judge us or that our love will not be reciprocated on the same level. Earlier this week I was asked to write a testimonial for a friend who has really helped me out. As I wrote my instinct was to edit my words, holding my true feelings back a little bit in case my pure gratitude sounded too over the top. At that point that I caught myself. These words were the way I felt from my heart why should I edit that? I decided to put it all out there and not hold anything back out of fear on how it would be received. I told myself her reaction was not going to change the way I felt about the situation. Think about that for a minute. Can you think of a time when you wanted to do something for someone but then held back because of their potential reaction or because they might not feel the same way? If we are acting from a place of pure love for someone, their reaction doesn’t matter. What matters is that we take the time to express our feelings of love towards the people in our lives.
Love is contagious, if we allow it to be. When you do something out of love for someone, it makes them feel good and (hopefully) inspires them to reach out to someone they love and keep the love going. I say “if we allow it to be” because too often we bring resistance, suspicion and don’t allow ourselves to fully accept someone else’s gift of love to us. We guard ourselves by thinking that if we protect ourselves we will not get hurt. It’s easy to let the fear of hurt override the joy of love.
Kids are a great reminder of how simple love can be. They give hugs without a second thought. They draw pictures to share with anyone who has a free space on their wall. They give Valentine’s for the entire class because the shared experience of being in the class is enough to make them a friend.
Let’s get back to simplicity. Let’s let our feelings of love be our guide. Let’s find ways to show love every day. Let’s start today.
Journal on this: Who do you show love to every day? If you had more time, who would you add to that list? What can you do to add more love to your daily routine?
p.s. Love can be complicated and so are relationships! That’s why our next Journal 2 Joy workshop is titled “Relationships: It’s all about YOU!” I hope you’ll join us Sunday, February 28th as we talk about our role and how we can use that to create stronger relationships. R.S.V.P. today, visit http://www.balancedheartcoaching.com/journal-2-joy.html for all the details.
I started writing this blog because I wanted to have deeper conversations beyond "How are you?", "Busy", with other parents. Over the years I've shared personal stories, articles, authors and topics to facilitate conversations with parents about the joys and the challenges of parenting.